A product doesn’t always succeed based on how good it is. Sometimes, it comes at the wrong time, or at the wrong price. The Volkswagen Phateon is one such vehicle. It was nearly universally-regarded as a fantastic product by the media, after it was given a highly-expensive development program. The price tag didn’t really fit with the Volkswagen’s mission as the “people’s car” – in short badge on the hood did it in.
The Phaeton still is sold in Europe, but the car was pulled from the United States market years back. There have been a lot of rumors about its return to our market for the next-generation model. The question is, how does VW plan to approach a next-generation model after the flop this one has been?
According to, we were about to get a look at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A concept was supposed to debut that showed off the future of the Phaeton. To keep the spotlight on the production version of the Up! minicar though, VW opted to save it for another show. It is an interesting question of where the Phaeton will fit in a new lineup. VW is focused on lower-end vehicles much more so than it was when the Phaeton debuted.
VW’s new goal is world sales dominance, and that has meant a significant cheapening of its lineup. That makes an expensive Phaeton a more puzzling proposition than ever before, unless it was heavily based on other models and meant only as a loss-leader. Given Hyundai’s apparent success with the Equus, VW could adopt a different approach that positions the Phaeton as a value alternative.
CAR says the new car will be positioned just between the A6 and A8. We aren’t sure where that is exactly, but we should have a good look at the next car sometime this auto season. Hopefully it is more inspiring than VW’s current bland (but good looking) styling direction.